If this dish looks good up close, you'll be surprised by its power: Try these 4 ways to use fennel

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Fennel is one of those mysterious vegetables that gets passed by simply because few home cooks know how to use it or even what part of the bulbous plant to eat. Some taste fennel seed in Italian sausage, others have had fennel fronds in fancy restaurant salads, but too few have actually cooked with fennel. Fear no more — fennel is versatile, healthy and easy to use in a variety of tasty recipes.
Fennel is becoming easier to find in produce departments, but choose specimens that are fresh and healthy. Look for a solid bulb with no deep scars or soft blemishes. The fronds should be bright green, wispy and fragrant. If you're using fennel seeds, check the expiration date as they lose their potency over time.
Low-carb fennel slaw
Slaw is a staple at picnics and backyard cookouts. The crunchy texture and tartness perfectly balance the richness of BBQd meats and vegetables. You probably have a go-to recipe your mom or grandma swore by, but now it's time to start a new tradition with low-carb fennel slaw. This dish features a delicate blend of cabbage, fennel and scallions lightly dressed with a tart mayonnaise sauce, and the toasted fennel seeds bring out the brightness of the fresh sliced fennel. Refrigerating it overnight lets the flavors marry to perfection. Get the recipe here.
Low-carb simple roasted fennel
Coming up with new side dishes can be frustrating. Next time you need an exciting complement to meat, fish or chicken, turn to fennel. Cut into wedges, tossed in olive oil and simply seasoned with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan, roasted fennel may well outshine the main course. Don't waste the lovely fronds — top a salad with them for tomorrow's dinner. Get the recipe here.
Low-carb roasted fennel and kale frittata
Frittatas are one of the original make-ahead dishes. Equally scrumptious straight from the oven, as a room temperature midnight snack, or as a chilled on-the-go breakfast, frittatas rule. Roasted fennel and onion slices paired with fresh kale ribbons and grated Parm transform beaten eggs into superstars. For an added kick, finely mince a few fennel fronds and stir them into the mixture right before baking. Use the remaining fronds to brighten up a salad or add a tantalizing taste and aroma to simple soups. Get the recipe here.
Low-carb sweet fennel sausage
Italian sausage is where many people first discovered the magic of fennel. Bite after bite, there was a light, alluring sweetness that was hard to define: fennel seeds. Making sweet fennel sausage from ground pork is easy, and the touch of thyme and garlic imparts a nice balance of savory and sweet. Toast the fennel seeds to get maximum flavor and aroma. Serve the patties as a breakfast side or crumble them into your favorite red pasta sauce for a memorable lunch or dinner. Get the recipe here.
Low-carb chicken with fennel and bacon
Many chefs favor chicken thighs for their rich flavor and succulence. Adding a silky sauce made with fennel, garlic and onions brightened with fresh lemon zest and juice elevates chicken thighs to gourmet status. Crisp crumbled bacon provides a smoky texture and a hint of salt. This dish works equally well for a dinner entree or paired with waffles for a classic upscale breakfast. An added bonus is it's ready to serve in less than an hour. Get the recipe here.
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